Bon is a Computer Engineer working as a support technical personnel for a leading health care company in the Middle East. He is based in Saudi Arabia. In the 'About Me' section of Bon's blog, he listed in unalphebetical order around 57 adjectives about him. I asked him to choose the best five. He says:
"Tough question but I have to say that Bon is happy, invincible, positive, simple, and reliable. I’m HAPPY with my family, with my friends around, and with everything I have now. I live each day with a SIMPLE and worry-free life which makes me INVINCIBLE. I always think POSITIVE otherwise I’ll be nothing. And am sure you find me RELIABLE that’s why you ask me this question."
Some trivia from and about Bon:
"When I was 8, I almost broke my left arm, the first time I was brought to a manghihilot."
He is afraid of eclipses and he has countless birthmarks in his body (totalling 97!).
He's a man of few words and he's also straightforward.
"Ask me anything", he said, and he'll give you the answer right away.
He is evidently an expressive writer. In his PEBA 2009 entry, he wrote a piece about his father Bon Sr (whom he also calls 'my friend') entitled 'In Memoriam'. His dad used to work in Saudi Arabia for 12 years. Thus, Saudi Arabia is already a familiar place for him -- its smell and the sadness that it envelops the every Filipinos that work there. He already recognizes its subtle nuances from his dad's version of Saudi. But only after he'd become a Saudi OFW did he understand his dad's sacrifices. "Hindi ko dati maintindihan ‘nun bakit pwede nama'ng hindi mag-abroad; pwede nama'ng sa pilipinas lang (ang tatay ko)."
"I’m really proud of my father. In everything I do for our family, I’m sure that I am making him happy and proud, too. Professing to the whole world of what he’s done for us is not as heartfelt as taking on the responsibilities of being a good provider and a friend to the rest of our family. I love you dad!"
The truth is: Bon never imagined working in Saudi like his dad did. As in life repeating in circles, he now works "almost in the same place" where his dad used to work. And Bon accepts it without a single remorse. Weariness, yes; but never a remorse. "Oftentimes I work at night shift which starts at 7pm and ends up at 7am, then I go to bed at 9am. My life here is totally different; I’m used to not seeing the sun most often. To make my life easy, I have to accept that this is just a part of my being an OFW, plus the thought of being well-compensated. I’ve been here for about three years now and looking for more years until I realize my dream".
To while away his time, he plays DOTA, he blogs and he takes photography, too. "Going to the gym regularly and sometimes malling with my home buddies also eat up some of my free days," says Bon.
He calls his job 'nice' which, in Middle East countries most often means it's not a hard labour and the compensations are more than enough. Apart from that, he also enjoys working with different nationalitiess, exploring the desert, and, believe it or not, "meeting camels" (he claims it with a loud laughter). "What I admire most about the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) is its culture especially its strong family morals". His list of Saudi downside includes "missing dinuguan", the remoteness of ever walking under the rain (Saudi can be rainless in a year, but in recent years have seen changes in weather), the traffic (which isn't as bad as in Manila but is definitely a nuisance). "The weather here is extremely hot and cold...and it simply implies miss ko na nga ang Pilipinas," concludes Bon.
The blogging bug bit him two years ago and the created for him an indelible mark. Humbly he said he's "not a good writer" (which I -- and the PEBA 2009 judges -- disagree). And where does he get his ideas of what to write about? He reads stories written by other people and he gets inspirations from them. When words start to overflow, there's no stopping Bon. If he's in a right mood, words flows seamlessly in his head and he weaves the words into magical sentences. "Never write when you’re not in your best mood; the thoughts will hardly come out. Write what’s inside, just plain words (nothing technical). Avoid cover-ups. Learn from your experiences and also from others. And lastly, write with a smile."
"It’s easy to be a good writer, as long as you have the quality of time to read and listen to others." He calls all his work 'a masterpiece' "no matter how big or simple it is". Rightly so, I believe.
His winning in PEBA 2009 "somehow boosted Bonistation in the blogosphere" he said. It inspired him to write more sensible articles and stories. For all PEBA 2010 nominees, he advises them to "be proud of your stories, stories with compassion that will surely rock hard everyone’s heart in the Blogosphere and in the whole world as well".
To his fellow OFWs, he leaves these words: Saludo ako sa inyo! Alam kong “lungkot” ang unang kalaban nating mga OFWs, but this can be easily overcome if we accept the reality that this is just a part of our being an OFW. Acceptance is the keyword. And let me share to you some inspiring lines about Being Happy: that we should focus on what we have, not on what we don’t have. Happiness doesn’t come from material things, happiness is found within. We have our family and friends around us, and with them, we should be happy."
► You can read Bon's blog here.
► You can also read our previously featured bloggers in our monthly Spotlight.